Science Technicians perform tests and experiments, and provide technical support functions to assist with research, design, production and teaching in chemistry, earth sciences, life sciences, and physical sciences.

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed. Even with a qualification, experience or on-the-job training is usually needed.

Tasks

  • preparing materials for experimentation such as freezing and slicing specimens and mixing chemicals
  • collecting information and samples
  • conducting field and laboratory experiments, tests and analyses
  • presenting results in graphic and written form by preparing maps, charts, sketches, diagrams and reports
  • performing routine mathematical calculations, and computations of measurements
  • controlling the quality and quantity of laboratory supplies by testing samples and monitoring usage
  • checking, calibrating and maintaining test equipment
  • participating in fabricating, installing and modifying equipment to ensure that critical standards are met
  • preparing experiments and demonstrations for science classes

Job Titles

  • Chemistry Technician
  • Earth Science Technician
  • Life Science Technician
  • School Laboratory Technician
  • Hydrographer
  • Other Science Technicians
  • Chemistry Technician (also called Chemistry Technical Officer)

    Performs laboratory tests on organic and inorganic chemicals, analyses test data and carries out technical functions in support of Chemists or Chemical Engineers in a wide variety of areas such as fuels, agricultural products, food, pharmaceuticals, paints, metals, plastics, textiles, detergents, paper, fertilisers and cosmetics.

    Specialisations: Chemical Instrumentation Officer, Chemical Process Analyst, Chemistry Laboratory Technician, Dairy Laboratory Technician, Petroleum Laboratory Technician, Sugar Laboratory Assistant

  • Earth Science Technician (also called Earth Science Technical Officer)

    Collects and tests earth and water samples, records observations and analyses data in support of Geologists or Geophysicists.

    Specialisations: Earth Science Laboratory Technician, Geochemical Laboratory Technician, Geological Technical Officer, Geoscience Laboratory Technician, Hydrographical Technical Officer, Hydrological Technical Officer, Meteorological Observer, Seismology Technical Officer, Soil Science Technical Officer, Water Resources Technical Officer

  • Life Science Technician (also called Life Science Technical Officer)

    Identifies and collects living organisms and conducts field and laboratory studies in support of Life Scientists or Environmental Scientists.

    Specialisations: Biological Technical Officer, Botanical Technical Officer, Ecological Technical Officer, Environmental Technical Officer, Fisheries Technical Officer, Forestry Technical Officer, Forestry Technician, Wood Technologist, Zoology Technical Officer

  • School Laboratory Technician

    Prepares experiments and demonstrations, makes up solutions, prepares slides, orders books and equipment, and tidies up laboratories in support of teaching chemistry, earth sciences, life sciences and physical sciences.

  • Hydrographer

    Measures, analyses and maintains the flow and quality of water in rivers, lakes, stormwater and sewage, and surveys and maps oceans, seas and rivers.

  • Other Science Technicians

    Includes Calibration Technician, Fibre Technologist, Optics Technical Officer, Physics Technical Officer, Textile Technical Officer

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,013 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    stable
  • Skill Level

    Associate Degree or Diploma
  • Employment Size

    16,100
  • Unemployment

    above average
  • Male Share

    54.9%
  • Female Share

    45.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    77.0%

Find Vacancies

This is a medium sized occupation employing 16,100 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Little change in the number of jobs is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • While there are jobs in many parts of Australia, Western Australia has a large share of Science Technicians.
  • They mainly work in: Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Manufacturing; and Education and Training.
  • Full-time work is common. Full-time workers, on average, work 38.9 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,013 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 38 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 5 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was above average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200518500
200617300
200716000
200818800
200919700
201013400
201118100
201217500
201315600
201412000
201516100
202016400

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsScience TechniciansAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings10131230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryScience TechniciansAll Jobs Average
Full-time77.068.4
Part-time23.031.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)38.940.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services30.9
Manufacturing16.1
Education and Training15.4
Public Administration and Safety12.1
Other Industries25.5

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateScience TechniciansAll Jobs Average
NSW30.431.8
VIC19.325.5
QLD12.919.8
SA8.36.8
WA23.211.2
TAS1.92.0
NT2.51.1
ACT1.51.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketScience TechniciansAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-192.4-5.45.4
20-243.9-9.99.9
25-3436.8-23.423.4
35-4423.9-21.721.7
45-5420.1-21.121.1
55-593.9-8.78.7
60-644.6-5.95.9
65 and Over4.4-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryScience TechniciansCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males54.9Males53.6
Females45.1Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed. Even with a qualification, experience or on-the-job training is usually needed.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Science Technicians who are reliable, work well in a team and have a strong work ethic.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Biology

    89% Important

    Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

  2. Chemistry

    73% Important

    Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change. Danger signs and disposal methods.

  3. Mathematics

    69% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  4. English Language

    65% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  5. Education and Training

    56% Important

    Teaching and course design.

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Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Documenting/Recording Information

    88% Important

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  2. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    84% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

  3. Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work

    83% Important

    Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

  4. Interacting With Computers

    81% Important

    Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  5. Processing Information

    81% Important

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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